Over the course of this summer, I ventured on a personal project aimed at re-lighting my passion for creating images in the way I used to.
Despite having immersed myself in AI tools over the past year, I had scarcely picked up a camera. Determined to break free from this trend, I set out to craft something truly original.
Visualising the concept
I conceptualized a scene where a woman finds herself amidst nature, accompanied by a colossal hand emerging from the ground and grasping a giant light bulb. This artwork, titled “Inspiration Illuminated,” serves as a sort of sequel to my previous piece, “Creative Block.”
Through this endeavour, my objective was to demonstrate that I can craft captivating narrative-driven images without relying on AI tools or stock imagery. Each minute detail within the composition was crafted by hand or captured in the natural environment. Of course, I put it all together in Photoshop and other Adobe tools.
Creating the elements
The creative process started with an idea and sketching, followed by the crafting of each element. I crafted the hand, first making the plaster mould of my own hand and then using that to create the hand from acrylic resin.
You can see the parts of the process in the video below. I also constructed a miniature landscape using moss, stones, and intricately painted components outside the table of my house.
Earlier on, I had purchased a battery-powered light bulb, which I positioned within the hand’s grasp. It took some hours to perfect the evening lighting and shoot all the needed elements of the backplate image, after which I set about preparing the backdrop for the final image.
Shooting the image
Naturally, the central figure, the woman, needed to be integrated. To this end, I reached out to Taina Törmänen, whom I had long aspired to collaborate with.
Ultimately, a photo shoot was arranged, resulting in the essential component of my artwork. After this, an extensive post-processing phase followed, involving attention to detail: merging the elements seamlessly, refining the tonal palette, and various masking techniques.
And now, after countless hours of dedication and hard work, “Inspiration Illuminated” stands complete. This project, as I mentioned earlier, was a personal challenge—a means to throw myself beyond the comforts of AI that have made the creative process so effortless.
AI versus composite photography
While AI tools undoubtedly offer efficiency and boundless creative avenues, this project holds a significance that goes beyond mere utility. It embodies a level of dedication and emotion that AI-generated pieces sometimes might lack.
Though I remain doing my own and client projects with AI tools for the freedom and efficiency they provide, this project served as a reminder of my artistic roots. The endeavour of putting such immense effort into a single image has made the journey itself as valuable as the resulting art piece.
About the author
Antti Karppinen has won dozens of international awards for visual artistry & commercial photography and belongs to a new generation of image artisans to whom all things are possible. You can find out more about Antti on his website and follow his work on Instagram and Facebook. This article was also published here and shared with permission.